Three Things That A Home Inspector May Notice About Your Baseboards

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Three Things That A Home Inspector May Notice About Your Baseboards

When you book a home inspection, you might understandably be interested in getting the inspector's perspective on major issues such as the home's windows, roof, and foundation. What you might not realize, however, is that your inspector will also carefully assess seemingly minor parts of the home — and they may reveal some clues that could concern you. A home's baseboards might seem like a minor decorating accent, but you should expect any experienced home inspector to carefully check them out in each room. Here are three things that the inspector may notice, and what they mean.

Lifted Nails

A home's baseboards are typically nailed into place with tiny nails with even smaller heads. The builder will then use a punch to push the nails deep into the baseboards, and tops after covered with filler and painted — which is why you won't commonly see the nails at all. In some cases, however, your home inspector will point out nail heads that are sticking out of the baseboards. This is often an indicator of movement in the house, perhaps as a result of simply the house shifting over time, or maybe even because the house has settled due to a cracked foundation.


Provided that the wood used for the house's baseboards was adequately dried before being installed, the baseboards should be straight. If your home inspector has alerted you to the fact that the baseboards appear slightly warped, it's a sign that they've been in contact with water. This can suggest that the home may have had water damage, perhaps as a result of a storm or a burst pipe. Seeing warped baseboards will typically encourage the inspector to look even more vigilantly for other signs of water damage. Sometimes, the paint will be flaky, too, which is another sign that was has been present.

Poor Fitting

When one baseboard meets another where two walls join together, the two pieces of wood should fit properly. Sometimes, your inspector will notice baseboards that fit poorly — perhaps one has been cut too short, and there's a small gap where there shouldn't be. This is commonly a sign of shoddy construction and can be a concern because it may suggest that the builder took shortcuts or was inept in other ways around the house. When you're aware of the clues that baseboards can offer, you can be proactive during the home inspection by looking for these visual indicators. 

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